#LetsBlogOff, the Cha-Ching Edition

Inn by the Sea

This week’s #LetsBlogOff topic is “if money were no object…” This past weekend, I spent two delicious nights at a beautiful resort on the coast in Down East Maine, soaking in the scenic beauty of the surroundings and being pampered in so many ways that make me grateful to be a journalist who happens to write about amazing travel experiences that take place in spots just like Inn by the Sea, nestled into Crescent Beach in Cape Elizabeth. So you might think this post is going to go the way of bragging rights that I snag such experiences, right? Wrong, darlings: this is about something that took place at the Inn that I believe is at the true spirit of “if money were no object.”

Not only is Inn by the Sea one of the “greenest,” meaning environmentally-conscious, places I’ve stayed in a very long time, the property has its heart in the right place with its holiday philanthropy program called “The Giving Tree.” The afternoon I arrived, Rauni Kew, the publicist for Inn by the Sea, was hosting area school children who had visited to see the ornaments they’d made, each of which had been hung with care on a brightly lit tree in a corner of the lounge by a blazing fireplace. These local students had joined members of Thatcher Brook Center to make the ornaments, which are intended to entice the hotel staff, inn guests and community members to make generous donations of warm mittens, scarves, hats and/or Chap Stick, which will be given to the less fortunate people in the area.

The thing that caught my attention, a part of the program which is new to The Giving Tree this year, is that bookmarks decorated by Skillin School students were being sold for $10 each, the money from which will be used to purchase books for at-risk boys who have not had the opportunity to learn to read well. They gather to learn to read as part of a book club to which these books are donated. As a writer and someone who makes her living putting words on a page, I can think of no better way to spend money during this or any time of the year. Yep: I ponied up what I could afford and if anyone out there is looking for a good cause for their holiday giving, I’d say this is one.

My Spa Suite at Inn by the Sea

If money were no object, I’d make sure that every child the world over would have the best education possible so that the playing field was leveled and talent could really shine. When my ship comes in (and believe me, it will), I will be doing what I can to make sure this will happen! So in 2011, as I was roaming to my heart’s content along this beautiful slip of coastline in Maine, I gave the gift of a few books: it’s a start. I’m grateful for the program and the awareness it brought as I move through my own holiday celebrations with dear friends because it has reminded me to never take for granted that I have the good fortune of spending my time each and every day fumbling around with the written word. I would like to give this same gift to everyone who desires it from as young an age as possible.

Kudos to you, Inn by the Sea; I hope this call to action will inspire others to give as well and that your program will be a smashing success. If you want to donate funds to The Giving Tree, send them to Inn by the Sea, 40 Bowery Beach Rd, Cape Elizabeth, Maine 04107, c/o Rauni Kew (and tell her Roaming by Design sent you)! And, as I am want to do on Let’s Blog Off days, I leave you with a poem (today a Haiku): LUMINOSITY Dark harbinger sings. I halt his coaxing; turning to ravage the light. Saxon Henry Happy roaming on this #TravelTuesday, everyone! A full list of Lets Blog Off posts, and trust me, they are worth reading, can be found here.

  • Joseph

    You’re quite right about books. I firmly believe there is no better gift. What truly saddens me is that so many people these days read very little, and certainly nothing serious. But perhaps programs like the one you described will start turning things in the other direction.

  • Saxon Henry

    I agree, Joseph; not enough people read any more and to me reading is life itself! I was really encouraged by this program and I know it will do some good. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be reading everyone’s posts when I’m back from the city later today and look forward to what you’ve written today…happy holidays!

  • Chamois Green

    I was just mourning the fact that winter vacation started 1 1/2 weeks ago, and I’ve only finished one book! Your post reminds me to be grateful for the education I received which enabled me to make it through those pages. My brother always gives books for Christmas gifts- I think he’s on to something (just as you are!).Hope your holidays are wonderful! (And I think you JUST missed Rich at Concrete Detail this weekend – he was Down East, too!)

  • Jamey

    I actually touched on the books that I’ve received for Christmas, birthdays, and other celebrations where the exchange of gifts is appropriate as the greatest gifts (physical) of my life in a post earlier this December. Not only do they have the power to captivate and entertain us, they open places within our own soul that would otherwise forever remain hidden to us and the world around us. I’m always marvel at my dad’s claim to have had traveled the world by age 10 (although he has only left North America on a handful of occasions) through the books he read at the local library. Great post, and Merry Christmas!

  • Nick @ Cupboards

    I wish that more people yearned to share education and reading like you do Saxon- unfortunate that so many of our issues in society would be remedied by having a strong education system in place. Great post(and what a great looking spot to vacation)!

  • Collier

    I’m glad I came to your blog post via the Lets BlogOff series.I appreciate your declaration that your ship WILL come in. I believe ships DO come in to those who are willing to share the cargo!

  • Saxon Henry

    Chamois: You’ve been working hard in school, which I think makes it easy to “lose” the perspective that education is a gift. I think you should give yourself room to get over the exhaustion of the finals insanity you just came out of before chastising yourself. I often berate myself that I don’t read more, then I remember that I spend all my days putting words on a page and sometimes I just have to escape one character following the other by losing myself in a well-made film. The visual is a relief sometimes. I’m looking forward to the holidays spent surrounded by friends and no travel for a change, which feels like such a relief even though I’m very spoiled in the places I get to go. Hope your holiday will bring you contentment and joy. Wow: Rich was Down East! Would love to meet that wit face-to-face someday! As with all my tweeps, I feel I know people whom I’ve never met so well. Such a strange phenomenon of the internet age, no?

  • Saxon Henry

    Jamey: I, too, think that books bring us the ability to “go” to places we’ve never visited. I’d never been to Europe until fall 2009 but I felt I knew some of the cities I’ve been visiting through the books I’ve read. That everyone doesn’t have the opportunity to do this feels like such a slight to me. Thanks for taking the time to comment and I’m glad it brought your dad to mind. I love hearing everyone’s stories that my writing inspires. I hope you have a beautiful Christmas as well!

  • Saxon Henry

    It was a fantastic place to stay, Nick: I just nestled into that pulsing coast and reveled in the beauty. I was reminded how brightly stars could shine at night. A true gift for this city girl who spends too much of her life drenched in ambient light. Thanks for taking the time to comment; it’s always so appreciated. I hope you have a happy holiday season!

  • Saxon Henry

    Hey Collier: I’m glad someone caught that! It’s my declaration to the universe that I’m ready for abundance to flow into my life and it is! I will be sharing lots of educational ballast once the goods are fully in my hands! Thanks for taking the time to comment and have a beautiful holiday season!